Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Spirit of the Matter

The Spirit of the Matter, not the Subject nor the Sound.

It's nice to enjoy the musical tastes shared by other bloggers out there who have been encouraged by my short lived but inspirational Friday Flashbacks series. Sharing music vids seemed natch to me when I started doing so a couple years back. Now it seems rather ordinary to find Youtube vids along side D&D posts. Who woulda thunk it?

Recently my ears have been treated to pure audio gold thanks to the Music Genome Project at Pandora Radio. As I type this I am rocking out and alternating between my Stiv Bators and Johnny Thunders stations. Chew on that three-chord madness. It's both enlightening and scary as hell when you discover bands that are awesome as all get out yet were formed and disbanded before you ever heard of them. Argh.

Nevertheless, the internet once more proves to be mana from the gods, by Crom.

Anyway, all of this reminded me of a time when the "so-called OSR" (I have always loved that semi-derogatory term) was represented (there were countless others involed) by but a handful of bloggers (discounting the other forms of OSR types). Ha! Disclaimers abound.

To my knowledge I was the first fool to tie D&D to Punk Rock. It really stirred me up last year when some moron linked "fatbeards" with "punk" and old school D&D guys in general. Let me tell you that absolutely NO ONE ever related Punk and D&D back in the day and the very notion was downright silly. I was there in the late 70's/early 80's, D&D and Punk simply did not co-exist outside of my off-beat leanings. Perhaps that is why I eventually linked up with another self-proclaimed Punk in Amityville Mike. To see the opinions that I had spread across the blogosphere reduced to random uninformed insults almost made me delete my web log.

In many ways I should have been flattered. Ah well. To this day I am often surprised by what insults me, and that was certainly a weaker moment. But Ye Auld Grog & Blog survived.

Back to the point. Here's a proto-OSR post (yeah I know it's not even three years old yet) with comments from some important old school types who used to read my ramblings. The definitive OD&D-Punk post which at the time flew in the face of the accepted OD&D-Metal philosophy.

All of that floated out there, I am still taking the non-formulaic DIY approach to D&D. Maybe this post and older link will convince others to do the same.

Oh, and I highly recommend both Johnny Thunders and Stiv Bators for your own Pandora stations. More on those two at a later date.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee


Scott said...

I don't know that I was ever a punk - not much of a scene in Okeechobee, FL in the '80s, and we had to drive 100+ miles to shows - but I listened to a ton of punk rock and what we called "college rock" back then. Most of my D&D friends were into metal and classic rock.

I've used various punk rock "easter eggs" in my old campaigns - the Black Flag artifact, the insidious psionic Bad Brains with their maniacal Aitchar shock troops, the spheroid Circle Jerks, the Angry Samoans of the Isle of Dread, etc.

There was also a gladiolus-holding Morrissey statue in one of my dungeons that cast various Smiths effects - continual light ("There Is a Light that Never Goes Out"), symbol of despair ("Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now") and so on. Not punk rock, but I thought it was pretty funny.

(Unfortunately, I don't have any notes from back then, and in most of my gaming groups, I'd have been the only one to get the joke anyway.)

Chad Thorson said...

Hey Sham, welcome back! I think it's mainly the DIY side that reminds some of punk. But DIY applies to a lot of styles of music. Cheap Trick even falls into that category.

I second Stiv Bators, he had some great solo stuff prior to Lords of the New Church. Johnny Thunders had some good solo stuff too. But I prefer the music he collaborated on more like New York Dolls, The Heartbreakers, and Television.

Paul said...

There's no doubt that much of the OSR stuff has a punk sensibility, particularly in term of anti-commercialism and the DIY ethos that spawned countless zines and home-made cassette albums.

And it's also appropriate when you think about the strong influence on D&D of the pulps and Lovecraft. Grognards producing their own POD books harkens back to Lovecraft's amateur journalism.

It's part of a long tradition that embraces punk but predates it.

Sham aka Dave said...

Scott: I enjoy references that may or may not be picked up by the players. I love the Smiths effects statue - great idea.

Atom Kid: Right you are. Cheap Trick is another band I enjoy, btw. :-)

Paul: Good points. Also, keep in mind I include many "proto-Punk" bands in my classification that do predate D&D, like the MC-5 and Iggy Pop. I am not insinuating that Gygax or Arneson had even heard that stuff or that it had anything to do with D&D. It's just the vibe I get when homebrewing.

Paul said...

I get that vibe too; it's one of the things that attract me to OD&D.

Even (what I've heard about) very early D&D where every group was playing basically their own game based on whatever mish-mash of rule books and magazines fell into their hands. Somebody in Cincinnati could be playing a very different but very cool game compared to another group in San Diego.

It reminds me of bands like Rocket From the Tombs, making early punk in flyover country with no one paying them any attention (at the time).

Sham aka Dave said...

Rocket From the Tombs! I am impressed, Paul. Yes, that's the vibe.